Brent's Under-11 Girls squad reached the Regent's Park Youth League Cup Final in their first season of playing together.
Having suffered a defeat against Hackney last week, Brent fielded a strong team but were missing their midfield marshall, Tashelle Redhead, who was replaced by Zoey De Sousa Mantas.
With Sophie Owen up front and supported by Eabha Kennedy and Evie Roe on the right and left wings respectively, Brent started strongly. Kennedy moved sharply down the wing, cutting inside and drawing an athletic save from the keeper.
LSS piled upfield on the counter attack and hit a thundering goal bound shot which Brent ‘keeper Hannah Derks was able to fling herself at, tipping the ball onto the crossbar.
Brent then began their own attack with a pass to Tallulah Swaby, who then threaded the ball through to De Sousa Mantas who lifted the ball into the path of Kennedy, whose well-struck shot beat the LSS goalkeeper in the tenth minute.
The next major event in the game was Brent losing substitute Nancy Wales, who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes before she aggravated an old injury and had to be carried from the field.
After more pressure from LSS, Brent were fortunate to take a 1-0 lead into half time.
LSS came out strongly at the start of the second half, but Brent matched LSS tackle for tackle and got their second goal within 5 minutes of the restart. Captain Scarlett Hunn released the ball to Kennedy who made an exhilarating run down the right wing before cooly slotting the ball between the defenders for Owen, who scored with aplomb.
At 2-0 up Brent were determined not to concede and switched to a defensive formation. LSS continued to push forward but their tame efforts were easily gathered by substitute ‘keeper Kalina Bulik. Bulik used her distribution wisely and though Brent were in defensive mode they continued to push on the counter attack.
This counter-attacking allowed Brent to score their decisive third goal. From an interception in midfield, Roe passed the ball through to Kennedy who hit a square pass across the LSS area. Meg Ingram, who had just come on as a substitute swept the ball in at close range with her first touch.
At 3-0 and with the game virtually sewn up, Brent shut up shop replacing Swaby at left back with Carrie Rattigan and continually thwarted LSS’s attacks.
The Final will see Brent face Camden Youth for the third time this season, on 21st March.
Brent's Under-10 Girls squad took on a very strong Wealdstone team on a heavy pitch at Regent's Park.
Brent went into the match missing key players Nancy Wales and Sophie Owen and were pegged back by their opponents in the early stages. Brent's defensive partnership, Tallulah Swaby and Minnie Palmer, had to work in tandem from the first whistle to keep the Wealdstone strikers at bay. Hannah Derks in goal was called upon several times and calmly gathered up every loose ball.
However, the match was not 'one way traffic'. Willow Corbett was playing the anchor role in central midfield and attempted to create opportunities for prolific striker Willow Stone. Both defences were well organised and neither side was able to get a breakthrough before the half time whistle.
Brent used the interval to make full use of their squad, bringing on Ana Chemale and Eabha Kennedy on the left and right wings respectively. At the same time, Alba Summers moved from midfield and replaced Stone upfront as Brent aimed to put pressure on the Wealdstone defence.
Wealdstone had a lot of possession but were nullified in the final third by Carrie Rattigan who had moved to left back and the indomitable Palmer, who was as solid as ever at the back and helped to create the only goal of the game. It was Palmer's threaded ball which found Kennedy, who unleashed a thunderous shot at goal. The shot was parried into the path of Summer who was able to tap it in for her first goal of the season.
In the final minutes, Brent played exceptionally well under sustained pressure to close out the game, with Kennedy, Corbett and debutant June Acher-Johnson working collectively to form a solid partnership in midfield.
The Brent Schools FA U10 Girls defied the weather to take on Pitshanger FC at King Edward’s Park, Willesden on Sunday 1st March.
The game started ominously for Brent with Hannah Derks in goal being called upon to make a save within the first minute. Shortly afterwards Pitshanger, who had not lost all season going into the match, took the lead. The visitors scored with a powerful long-range strike that went through the Brent defense of Minnie Palmer and Tallulah Swaby and beyond the left hand of Derks.
Within ten minutes, Brent’s Willow Stone leveled the scores, running through the Pitshanger defense and calmly slotting the ball past the ‘keeper. Stone was on the ball again two minutes later, receiving a beautiful through ball from Sophie Owen and slamming the ball past the goalkeeper for Brent to take the lead.
With two assists from Alba Summers and another soaring dash from the half way line, Stone continued scoring, and by the final minute of the first half had scored all five of Brent’s goals.
At that point, Brent suffered a blow. Midfield dynamo Nancy Wales, who had recently returned to the squad after injury, was caught badly and fell, twisting her ankle and ending her involvement in the match.
Pitshanger were determined to pull a goal back before half time and duly did so with a quick interchange of passes which allowed their forward to hammer the ball home.
For the second half, Pitshanger rearranged their defense in an effort to contain Stone. However, Sophie Owen worked in tandem with Derks who was now on the right wing and Ana Chemale on the left and was able to keep the supply of passes to Stone going. Though the Pitshanger defenders were strong and technically good, they were unable to hold back Stone who rapidly scored a further two goals to take her tally to seven.
Swaby moved from right back to right wing and was able to use her pace to tear through the Pitshanger defence. One run saw Swaby unleash a powerful shot which beat the goalkeeper, only for Stone to poach the goal by tapping it in on the goal line. Having scored eight goals, Stone was withdrawn and continued to support the team from the sidelines.
Pitshanger continued to push forward and were unlucky not to score from several attempts on goal which were ably intercepted by Willow Corbett, a rock in the centre of midfield. The Brent defence was challenged continually for a sustained period of time before a speculative long range shot from the Pitshanger number 7 flew into the top right corner of the net.
With Brent leading 8-3 but playing into the wind and ten minutes remaining, Pitshanger sensed a possibility to overcome a large deficit and threw everything into going forward to seek another goal. This was not to be; Swaby continued to torment the Pitshanger defence, this time squaring the ball for Chemale whose hard work in midfield was rewarded as she thumped home a glorious goal from the edge of the box. The game was played out with several chances for Brent with Derks, Swaby and Owen going close before the final whistle blew.
The Under-11 Girls squad had a difficult match against Hackney in the London Girls League. Taking on one of the tournament favourites, Brent were 5-1 down at half-time but rallied in the second half. However, Hackney ran out 7-1 winners.